(Date Posted:02/13/2009 00:40 AM)
AMERICA ADOPTS A REVERED
Photo by Henriette Kress, Helsinki, Finland
Discover the impressive benefits of rhodiola.
By Evelyn Leigh
in alpine and arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere grows an
unassuming herb with some remarkable characteristics. Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea),
a plant adapted to the harsh and unforgiving climate of Siberia and
similar regions, appears to have the ability to help the human body
adapt to and defend against the debilitating effects of stress.
Rhodiola, which helps the body adapt to stress, is harvested solely from the wild. Photo by Henriette Kress, Helsinki, Finland
displays all the attributes of a classic adaptogen (a valuable tonic
herb that strengthens the body’s nonspecific resistance to the effects
of physical stress, such as that caused by overwork or extreme
temperatures). Modern research, backed by centuries of traditional use,
suggests rhodiola can help counteract stress-related fatigue, enhance
stamina and work performance, and perhaps even boost mood and memory.
good to be true? Well, almost. While the health benefits seem
promising, some experts are concerned that the new enthusiasm for
rhodiola has taken a toll on the plant itself. The recent increase in
demand for the herb, which is harvested solely from the wild, threatens
to deplete wild plant populations — unless efforts to improve the
sustainability of sources are stepped up soon.
Rhodiola, Yesterday and Today
known in North America until a few years ago, rhodiola has long been a
popular remedy in Eastern European and Asian nations, especially Russia
and Scandinavian countries. The long list of disorders for which
rhodiola has been traditionally used includes fatigue, depression and
other nervous system conditions, altitude sickness, headaches, anemia,
gastrointestinal problems, colds and flu, and infections. The use of
the herb in Europe stretches back to the time of the ancient Greeks,
and it was used as a brain tonic in France as early as the 19th
Rhodiola is native to dry, high altitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Rare Plants
rhodiola is listed as an official medicine in the pharmacopoeias of
Russia, Sweden, France and a number of other European countries, and it
remains an esteemed remedy in the traditional Tibetan and Chinese
medical systems. In modern Europe, rhodiola is primarily used as a
psychostimulant to treat what some researchers call “asthenic” or
“neurasthenic” conditions. These conditions, characterized by such
symptoms as fatigue, decreased work performance and disturbances in
mood, sleep and appetite, may develop in response to severe physical or
mental strain or after debilitating illness.
worth noting that the terms “asthenia” and “neurasthenia” are no longer
commonly used in the United States, in part because many of the
symptoms overlap with those of other conditions, such as depression and
chronic fatigue syndrome. However, the terms continue to be widely used
by researchers and health practitioners in other parts of the world.
A Look at the Research
is perhaps most popular in Russia, where a great deal of the
pharmacological research has been conducted. Modern Russian and
Scandinavian scientists have investigated the health benefits of
rhodiola since 1960, but little original research has been published in
Among the few papers in English are two small, placebo-controlled European clinical studies published in the journal Phytomedicine
in 2000. These studies evaluated the herb’s ability to enhance work
performance and counteract stress-related fatigue in human subjects
under realistic work conditions.
perennial plant with yellow flowers, rhodiola is native to dry,
high-altitude regions of Asia, Europe and other areas of the Northern
Hemisphere. The part of the plant used medicinally is the rhizome, a
fleshy underground stem. Common names for rhodiola include golden root,
Arctic root and roseroot. The last of these names refers to the
rose-like fragrance of the rhizome. The plant is a member of the family
Crassulaceae, a group made up primarily of succulents that also
includes the genus Sedum.
The genus Rhodiola
contains more than 100 different species, and at least 20 of these are
used in traditional Asian medicine. However, it is important to note
that nearly all of the scientific research has been conducted on R. rosea, so whether or not other species confer the same health benefits is unknown.
first study showed that low-dose treatment with rhodiola extract
reduced symptoms of fatigue in young, healthy medical students on night
duty. In the second study, treatment with rhodiola enhanced physical
fitness, reduced mental fatigue, improved neuromotor function and
boosted general well-being for a group of medical students during a
stressful exam period.
In spite of the scarcity of research published in English, some recent articles in HerbalGram and Alternative Medicine Review
provide an excellent overview of other scientific research to date.
According to these research summaries, the herb’s adaptogenic
properties have been well documented in human, animal and laboratory
studies. Trials have shown rhodiola effectively counters fatigue and
protects against the effects of stress, hypoxia (oxygen deprivation),
extreme temperatures, intense physical activity and other factors.
Additional studies have demonstrated rhodiola has antioxidant
properties, benefits the central nervous system and can help protect
the heart from stress-induced damage. Anecdotal reports suggest the
plant may help with depression, memory loss, cognitive problems, sexual
dysfunction and a host of other conditions, but more research is needed
to confirm these applications. There have been no reports of safety
problems or toxicity.
with most herbs, no single compound appears to be responsible for
rhodiola’s activity. Currently, researchers believe the most active
chemical ingredients are compounds called rosavins. Rhodiola extracts
are often standardized to both rosavins and salidroside. Most of the
extracts used in rhodiola clinical studies were standardized to a
minimum of 3 percent rosavins and 0.8 to 1 percent salidroside; this is
the ratio in which these compounds occur naturally in the plant.
are not yet sure how rhodiola achieves its impressive benefits.
However, it appears the herb affects the function of neurotransmitters,
brain chemicals that transport messages between nerves and help to
regulate mood and other functions. In some studies, small and
medium-sized doses of rhodiola were shown to stimulate the release of
and enhance the effects of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine,
dopamine and serotonin in the central nervous system.
A Word About Sustainability
there is another side to the rhodiola story — one that environmentally
conscious herb consumers may find difficult to ignore. Rhodiola is
harvested exclusively from the wild, and increased commercial demand is
threatening the health of wild plant populations.
to Rob McCaleb, president of the Herb Research Foundation in Boulder,
Colorado, now is the time for herb suppliers to develop sustainable
sources of rhodiola. “Sustainability is becoming the new standard for
earth-friendly products,” he explains. “[The term] ‘certified
sustainable’ goes beyond organic to assure the continued availability
of the plant and the health of the ecosystem it grows in. It also
benefits the people who depend on these plants for their livelihood by
helping to guarantee a future supply.”
harvest practices have already decimated rhodiola populations in
certain parts of Russia. Russian forestry experts have established
methods to monitor and control wild harvesting of other high-value
herbs, such as eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus), to ensure
their continued availability and protect the forest ecosystem. Yet no
such protections have been put in place for rhodiola. “The Russians
really are very conscious about their harvest practices,” McCaleb says.
“Unfortunately, they did not foresee this supply problem, so they did
not take the same measures to protect rhodiola.”
sustainable sources of rhodiola are not created quickly, a shortage
could develop, McCaleb points out. “This should be a wake-up call for
suppliers,” he says. “There’s opportunity, there’s demand, and there’s
good science to support the health benefits of the herb. This is a
chance to do things right.”
can make a difference by asking hard questions about the sources of the
herbs they buy. “I think there’s good cause for optimism,” McCaleb
says. “Customers are responding to issues of sustainability by
demanding sustainably produced products. And through our work at the
Herb Research Foundation, we know there are manufacturers who will
respond by insisting upon sustainable sources and suppliers who will
accept the challenge of buying sustainably.”
Evelyn Leigh is a writer, editor and herbalist who lives to garden in Boulder, Colorado. She is the co-author of The Encyclopedia of Popular Herbs (Prima Publishing, 2000).
RHODIOLA ROSEA (Russian Rhodiola, Golden root) -
Anti-Aging Medicine of 21st Century
A large proportion of all aging
diseases (perhaps 70-80%) is believed to occur because the stress level
is too high, and/or too long-term. High-stress modern living is
probably the main factor causing chronic disease and premature aging.
Fortunately, Mother Nature has an answer to this challenge - a unique
class of herbal products called "adaptogens".
Adaptogens have the
broadest spectrum of healing properties of any herbal medicine, but
their unique value is that they specifically relieve stress.
History of Rhodiola rosea
were discovered in 1947 by the Russian scientist Dr. Nicolai Lazarev,
who in fact coined the name "adaptogen". Dr. Lazarev was also the
mentor of Dr. Brekhman, who conducted extensive research on adaptogenic
herbs. Dr Brekhman's first major focus was the now well known Panax
Ginseng, also called Korean or Chinese Ginseng. This worked, but
unfortunately it has a few drawbacks that have since become evident. It
sometimes has side effects such as causing constipation and
over-excitement which for some people is too stimulating. Dr. Brakhman
soon moved on to other herbs and became recognized as the world's
leading expert on adaptogens. Since then, hundreds of experimental and
clinical studies on adaptogens have been done - most of them in Russia
and Germany. Most of these studies have shown the outstanding
stress-protective and immune system enhancing capacities of adaptogens.
may be familiar with the names of what are now called
"first-generation" adaptogens: Panax Ginseng, American Ginseng, and
Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian Ginseng). But in this article I
want to tell you about a unique adaptogen of the "second generation",
Rhodiola rosea (Russian Rhodiola), which is a powerful anti-aging phyto
supplement with adaptogenic and anti-stress activity. In Russia,
Rhodiola rosea also known as "Golden root", has been used for centuries
to cope with the cold Siberian climate and stressful life. But before
describing this unusual herb, let's say a few words about stress itself.
How do you feel?
main effects of adaptogens are an increased availability of energy
during the day, a reduction of stressed feelings, increased endurance,
greater mental alertness, and deep and restful sleep. Also, adaptogens
significantly accelerate the recovery process after illness. The author
of this article was ill for many years, and became weaker and weaker,
despite trying a variety of medicines and supplements. Doctors could
not diagnose the illness, but probably it was an autoimmune disorder,
with too many symptoms to name. One day one of my friends had sent me
roots of Rhodiola rosea from Moscow (Russia) and advised me to prepare
Rhodiola water tea to drink. After some trial and error, I found this
Siberian root worked better than anything else I had tried; and it
increased the effectiveness of other supplements as well. I decided to
search to find out more about this wonderful herbal adaptogen.
to modern science, adaptogens are natural plant products that increase
the body's ability to cope with internal and external stress factors,
and normalize the functions of the organism. They help maintain the
stable internal environment inside the organism known as homeostasis.
An important characteristic is that they are safe, possessing few known
side effects. More info about adaptogens
The three phases of stress progression
1) Alarm phase
- When some new stress factor strikes the body this causes a sudden
release of internal stress-hormones - corticosteroids and
catheholamines. If the stress is very intense it can damage the
regulatory systems of the body permanently and immediately (for example
in the case of exposure to high levels of nuclear radiation); but if
one is lucky, or if the person takes adaptogens, than it is possible to
smoothly progress further to the "adaptation phase".
2) Adaptation phase
- If the stress factor continues (for example, in sport it might be
heavy athletic training) our body learns to tolerate the stressful
stimulus - "adapt" - and increases its resistance to the stress factor.
The "adaptation phase" is usually a safe period. The longer we can stay
in the "adaptation phase", the better.
3) Finally, the exhaustion phase
appears, when the body fails to fight stress anymore and simply gives
up. In this "exhaustion phase", disease symptoms rapidly appear and get
Diseases associated with stress may appear in the first
"alarm phase", but they mainly appear in the third "exhaustion phase"
when the body cannot fight stress anymore. This third phase usually
develops after a period of months or years. Everything depends on the
duration of the "adaptation phase". Sometimes the body may be fortunate
and escape this third phase altogether, provided it can keep the stress
under control. It is possible to do this by taking adaptogens; they can
help you to stay in the "adaptation phase" for as long as possible.
Taking Rhodiola rosea extract, can make coping with stress much easier!
When regularly taking Rhodiola the initial "alarm phase" of your stress
will smoothly progress to the "adaptation phase". Rhodiola rosea can
help you to stay in this safe "adaptation phase" for a much longer time
or even permanently, so preventing your body from proceeding further to
the extremely dangerous "exhaustion phase". Where to buy
"second-generation" adaptogen Rhodiola rosea (Russian Rhodiola) is a
perennial plant with red, pink, or yellowish flowers. It has no
biological relation to the "common" rose, but due to its similar
fragrance it has been used as a substitute for Attar of Roses. One of the greatest things Rhodiola does is enhance mental and physical performance. It
has been widely used by Russian athletes and cosmonauts to increase
energy. Rhodiola is cardio-protective, normalizing the heart rate
immediately after intense exercise. It improves the nervous system and
mental functions such as memory, by increasing blood-supply to the
muscles and brain, and it also increases protein synthesis (1,3,4).
Rhodiola rosea has extraordinary pharmacological properties as an
anti-mutagen and anti-depressive agent. In this respect Rhodiola rosea
is much more powerful than other adaptogens. In one study done by O.M.
Duhan and colleagues (5), the anti-mutagenic activities of Panax
Ginseng and of Rhodiola rosea were compared. It became clear that the
extracts of Rhodiola rosea had a higher capacity to counteract gene
mutations induced by various mutagens (up to about 90% inhibition in
some cases). The anti-depressive and anti-stress activity of Golden
root is higher than that of St. John's Wort, Ginkgo biloba and Panax
Ginseng. Furthermore, Rhodiola rosea is five times less toxic than
Panax ginseng. In an experiment on rats with Pliss lymphosarcoma (PLS)
it was shown (6) that partial hepatectomy, a course application of
Rhodiola rosea extract or combined effects inhibit the growth of tumors
by 37%, 39% and 59%, respectively, and that of metastases by 42%, 50%
and 75%. In one human study (7) oral administration of Rhodiola rosea
extract to 12 patents with superficial bladder carcinoma (T1G1-2)
improved the characteristics of the urothelial tissue integration,
parameters of leukocyte integrins and T-cell immunity. The average
frequency of relapses for these patients was found to fall twice. In
another clinical trial 150 individuals suffering from depression took
Rhodiola rosea extracts for a period of one month. At the end of that
period two-thirds of them had full remission of clinical manifestations
of depression, and had become more active and more sociable. Daytime
weakness and general weakness disappeared. Rhodiola rosea extracts
reduce significantly the yield of cells with the chromosome aberrations
in vivo and inhibit unscheduled DNA synthesis induced by
N-nitroso-N-methylurea in vitro (8). It is emphasized that Rhodiola
rosea extracts have rejuvenative properties due to their ability to
raise the efficiency of the intracell DNA repair mechanisms. Complete List of Scientific Articles (Abstracts)
Pharmacological activity - quality matters!
are products on the market that contain Rhodiola rosea. But
unfortunately these products often have only limited or even no
biological activity at all. Common reasons for these deficiencies are
bad harvesting during the wrong season, harvesting from a climatic
rigion not suitable for the plant or from a bad geographic area,
harvesting wear species of the plant, also overdrying, or using an
inferior extraction method. The manufacturing process also is a key
factor in the preparation of a high quality adaptogenic extract, as is
the selection of high quality raw materials using proper assay methods.
The main active components of true Rhodiola rosea that
are responsible for the extraordinary potency of Rhodiola rosea are
cinnamol alcohol glycosides, especially ROSAVIN - cinnamyl-O-(6-O-L-arabinopyranosyl-D-glucopyranosid) and SALIDROSIDE. Quality Rhodiola rosea extract should contain at least 3% rosavins and 1% or less salidroside.
Rhodiola rosea and immunity
rosea stimulates the immune system in two ways: FIRST - by specific
direct stimulation of immune defence (stimulates one of the most
important type of immune cells - Natural Killer Cells, NK-Cells seek
and destroy the infected cells on our bodies). Rhodiola rosea
normalises the immune system by improving T-cell immunity (7) Rhodiola
has been shown to increase the body's resistance to toxins that may
accumulate during infection development. SECOND - by making a person
less susceptible to stress. Scientists found out that stress suppresses
immunity and destroys our resistance to various forms of bacterial or
virus attack. Due to the natural killer cell's effect on tumours
Rhodiola rosea may enhance B cell immunity by preventing the
suppression of B cell immunity, which can occur during stress. Being
under stress, a great portion of the body's energy is expended for
nothing. When we are chronically exposed to stress that continually
robs energy from other systems. The general effect is a lowered immune
response and decreased health.
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(Date Posted:02/13/2009 00:41 AM)
For Whom Rhodiola rosea
Rhodiola has been used in connection with fatigue, mental performance and athletic performance (to improve endurance). The
Russian medicine has traditionally given Rhodiola rosea to its
cosmonauts, soldiers, sportsmen and ageing political leaders as an
effective anti-aging medicine. Russian Rhodiola helped them to improve
cognitive functions and physical performance.
Prevention of development of fatigue, asthenic states, catarrhal seasonal diseases;
Use in comprehensive therapy for treatment of neuroses, depression, hypotension, and other diseases;
Restoration of health following recently endured communicable and somatic diseases;
Increased bodily resistance to physical and mental overloads, and negative environmental effects;
In sport - improved performance, resistance to strain, restoration of strength with increased physical loads;
Prevention of alcohol and drug addiction;
For elderly and aged persons;
may be successfully taken by drivers, flight personnel, traffic
controllers, as well as other professional cohorts of people
occupationally engaged in work requiring increased attention.
Rhodiola rosea - natural alternative to Meridia (Reductil) slimming tablets
researchers have demonstrated that intake of the herbal remedy Rhodiola
rosea activates hormone-sensitive lipase, which plays a key role in
breaking down the fat stored in adipose tissue (2).
Previous Soviet clinical studies showed that the combination of
Rhodiola rosea together with physical exercise can be a powerful tool
in the activation of fat-tissue lipase, resulting in the breakdown of
stored fat. Georgian clinical data showed that the intake of tablets of
Rhodiola rosea extract by obese subjects led to a mean weight loss of
19 pounds (11% reduction). In a control group, in contrast, the weight
change was insignificant. The Bulgarian study suggests a detailed
mechanism for the fat-loss effect (2).
usual amounts taken are 200 to 600 mg per day of a Rhodiola rosea
extract standardized to contain 2-3% rosavins and 0.8-1% salidroside.
(10) The nonstandardized amount would be 1 gram of the root three times
daily (usually 5-6 tablets per day), the amount for the alcoholic
extract (40% alcohol) is 5 to 40 drops (0.5 - 1 teaspoon) two to three
times per day and for the tea from Rhodiola rosea roots is 1 - 2 cap
per day. Rhodiola is usually taken with water before meals or at
mealtimes. Please note, that Rhodiola has a more stimulating effect at
lower amounts, and a more sedating effect at higher amounts.
Side effect and contraindications
has been the subject of many clinical studies. No side effects or
interactions have been reported. Animal studies indicate that rhodiola
has a low level of toxicity. (10) Don't
take rhodiola during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. There is no
information available about the safety of rhodiola in pregnancy or
lactation. Insomnia may be a risk with high doses of rhodiola. A high
dose is considered to be daily intakes of 1,500 to 2,000 mg and above
of a Rhodiola rosea standardized extract.
There are no well-known
drug or nutrient interactions associated with Rhodiola rosea. However,
much remains to be learned about this herb and how it may interact with
other adaptogens, such as Siberian ginseng, as well as with other
Rhodiola or Ginseng?
rosea (Russian Rhodiola) has all the advantages of Ginseng and
Eleutherococcus but lacks the tendency to cause over-excitement that
may sometimes occur with ginseng, or constipation as sometimes occurs
with eleutherococcus. Russian Rhodiola is FIVE times less potentially
toxic, than Panax ginseng.
Russian or Chinese? Be Careful!
precise analytical tests done by HPLC did confirm, that only Rhodiola
rosea of Russian origin contains key active components: Rosavin,
Rosarin, Rosin. Often
so-called Rhodiola rosea formulas, sold in the United States (such as
"Tibetan" Rhodiola or "Chinese" Rhodiola) contain no activity at all,
as these formulas lack the key ingredient Rosavins while they are high
in Salidroside. Only
Rhodiola rosea of Russian origin (West and North Siberia) has the
highest pharmacological activity and contains key active components
ROSAVIN, ROSARIN, ROSIN and SALIDROSIDE. While so-called Tibetan
Rhodiola and Rhodiola rosea of Chinese origin very often do not have
enough potency and contains only SALIDROSIDE. Compare content of key
substances in dry roots: Chinese Rhodiola often has no activity at all,
but there are other species of Rhodiola that are predomin-ating in
China, such as Tibetan Rhodiola, Rhodiola quadrifida, Rhodiola
kirilowii, Rhodiola heterodonta and many others. For the best quality of Rhodiola rosea click here
Rhodiola rosea of Russian origin
is now slowly but surely becoming more widely accepted in Europe and
the USA as a powerful anti-aging, anti-stress formula. In today's
culture of hustling and bustling, with chaos coming from every
direction, I do not think we can afford to ignore this natural medicine
any longer. It is in our interest to take advantage of these powerful
herbs if we want to survive the demands modern life imposes on us. One
does not have to be a professor or scientist to research herbs and
educate oneself on how they work. The motivation depends on how much
one desires to improve one's quality of life. Since life is so short,
our advice is: don't wait until you have a day off, maybe next week.
Why not take Russian Rhodiola as soon as possible, so your week will be
Taking Rhodiola rosea, you will be better able to cope with stress!
Rhodiola Rosea cultivation
Rhodiola Rosea can be cultivated in two ways - from seed, or by vegetative propagation.
Cultivation from seed
seeds of Rhodiola Rosea are very small (about 1.5 - 2mm long by 0.3 -
0.6mm). Growing from seed can be difficult, because the dried seeds
have a low germination capacity (only about 2 - 25% of them will
germinate). However, this can be improved if, prior to planting, the
seeds are stored in moist sand in cool conditions for about a month.
(The dry seeds are soaked in water overnight, then mixed into moist
sand and kept in a suitable container). After storage for one month at
a temperature between 0 - 2°C, the germination capacity will typically
increase to around 75%. And by using natural stratification, sowing
outdoors in the autumn (during September-October), it is possible to
achieve 95-100% germination. After planting (see below), the seeds
sprout after 4 - 5 days and the first leaves appear in 25 - 40 days.
Vegetative propagation (root division)
Rosea can also be propagated by root division. For this, you need to
cut the underground rhizome-like roots into sections 1.5 to 15cm long,
maintaining at least one bud and some hair-roots on each piece. Root
division can be performed throughout the autumn months before frost, or
in early spring. The cut pieces should be transplanted into soil, and
after 3 weeks the plantlets should start growing.
best type of soil is sandy or brown forest soil, rich in humus. The
soil needs to be weeded regularly. The bed should be in an open, sunny
place, and prior to planting should be treated with processed manure (3
- 5kg/sq m) or fertiliser (4 - 6kg/sq m). Adding grit, gravel, or
vermiculite to the soil increases soil porosity and encourages growth;
however, peat-based fertiliser should not be used. During the first
month, the plants need to be carefully watered and weeded. Prick out
the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to
handle, and grow them on in the greenhouse for the first winter. Plant
out in early summer of the following year.
plants usually reach their maximum height in the third year after
planting, but a minimum of 5 years must pass before the medicinal roots
can be harvested.
Harvesting should take place in autumn, since at
this time the plant stops its vegetative growth and the dry-matter
content of the root is higher. Harvesting is a simple process of
digging out the roots by hand. In the case of large-scale cultivation,
mechanical assistance from a cultivator machine etc. would be required.
Processing the harvested roots
gathered roots should be sliced into thin strips about 10cm long, and
dried in a well-ventilated drier at 40 - 50°C for 4 - 7 days. Under
these conditions the original white color of the roots turns light
brown. The roots should not be dried in the sun, since strong light
destroys the active medicinal component! The dried root is best stored
in paper packets in a cool dry place, and will keep for up to 3 years.
By: John Hyatt, CA
The ideas, procedures and suggestions contained in this article are
intended for informational purposes only. Always consult with your
doctor. All materials regarding your health require medical
supervision. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and
are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.
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(Date Posted:02/13/2009 00:45 AM)
The Rowan Tree
Tree of Imbolc, Divine Inspiration and Seership
By Glennie Kindred
(Originally published at Imbolc 1998)
Rowan (sorbus aucuparia), Mountain Ash, Quickbeam, has the ability,
perhaps more than any other tree, to help us increase our psychic
abilities and connections. It has a beneficial energy which will
increase our abilities to receive visions and insights which in turn
will increase our communication with the spirit realms.
the past it was valued as a protection against enchantment, unwanted
influences and evil spirits. Sprigs of Rowan were placed over doorways
and fixed to cattle sheds to protect the animals from harm. Similarly,
farmers would drive their sheep through hoops of Rowan branches, and in
Wales Rowan trees were planted in churchyards to watch over and protect
the spirits of the dead.
Rowan berry has a tiny five-pointed star opposite its stalk. The
pentagram, ancient symbol of protection, is an outward manifestation of
the Rowan's protective powers, but there is more to the picture than
this. The Rowan grows higher up the sides of mountains than any other
native tree, often sprouting and growing from the tiniest of crevices
and growing in the most inaccessible of spots. Its life-force energy is
strong and determined. It reflects a power, a vitality and tenacity,
with a clear message that harnessing this powerful life-force will make
any manifestation possible. Its message is not to give up, but to hold
on strong to what you believe in and to the power of the life-force.
Rowan strengthens your personal power. It is this aspect which makes
the Rowan such a powerful ally. It will strengthen your positive
life-energy so that your personal power is so strong that it can
withstand any negative forces. This is how it acts as a protective
influence. It is not just the Rowan which protects you but you,
yourself. An increase in psychic ability and life-force energy puts you
in touch with your own power, thus breaking any victim consciousness,
or malevolent influence, which may have entrapped and weakened you.
is the Rowan's ability to open up communication with the spirit realms
which is the key to the Rowan energy. Its name is linked with the Norse
word "runa", meaning "a charm", and the the Sanskrit "runa", meaning "
a magician. Rune staves, sticks on which the runes were inscribed, were
made of Rowan wood and it would be an appropriate wood to choose for
making a set of ogham sticks if you wanted to make a set quickly
without waiting to collect each stick from each of the relevant trees.
The leaves and berries are added to divination incenses. Rowan twigs
are used for metal divining, just as hazel twigs are used for water
divining. Speer posts, magically protective house timbers inscribed
with runes and magically charged patterns, were traditionally made of
is the wood to use for making any magical tool which has anything to do
with divining, invocation and communication with the spirit realms. It
will help you to discriminate between what will do you harm and good
and help you deal with anything which threatens you.
increase in abilities to communicate and understand communication from
the spirit realms or otherworld will bring meaningful insights, visions
and in increase in intuition. Divination will provide a tool for these
communications, so if you are working with the Rowan, increase your
oracular consultations. But it is also important to "read" the messages
which are constantly passed to us from the spirit realms and to be open
to receiving and interpreting these signs in our everyday lives. This
will merge the inner and outer sources of information at our disposal.
is valued for its ability to provide us with forewarnings and
foreknowledge. It gives us an increased awareness of enchantments or of
outside influences which are affecting us and of which we had
previously been unaware. This, along with an increase in personal power
and vitality, is why it is such an important tree to communicate with.
It brings a balanced control of all our senses and abilities on many
different levels of our existence. If you are working with the Rowan,
it is important to take heed of any warnings or negative influences
which you pick up on, using meditation and diviniation to help you to
find ways to deal with them.
which is focused on getting in touch with spirit guides in the
otherworld is greatly enhanced by holding a Rowan twig, wand or
touchwood. Similarly, Rowan wood can be used to focus your intent to
understand and receive messages from the otherworld. Wearing a Rowan
talisman, or carrying a piece of Rowan touchwood, will also enhance
Rowan is associated with Imbolc, the great fire festival of early
February, held to mark the quickening of the year. Dedicated to the
young maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess, she, like the Rowan, is
associated with divine inspiration, illumination, intuition and the
binding power of poetry and healing.
than ever, we need to harness these feminine principles and make them
part of our everyday lives. We are now free of many of the oppressive
and destructive influences of Christianity which have suppressed these
qualities for so long. For me, Imbolc and the Rowan provide the
opportunity to tap into a true synthesis and integration of our
physical and spiritual selves by helping us to receive and act upon our
intuitive insights. They also help us to keep our subconscious in
direct communication with our conscious selves.
Rowan is associated with the planet Mercury, the principle of
communications. This free-flowing communicative energy is the
underlying value of this tree which can manifest in many different
aspects of our lives. Imbolc is connected to the powerful surge of new
growth which is stirring in the depths of the earth and thus also
represents the rebirth of the spirit and the spiralling out of the
light energy from the time of darkness and the upsurge in personal
energy with which this is linked.
with the Rowan tree at Imbolc would facilitate a quickening of personal
power and resources. Make time to link in to transformation visions
through any chosen method of diviniation, candle-gazing, scrying,
meditation, inspired drawings and poetry.. Leave your conscious mind
behind and allow the intuitive process to unfold. Staring into
nothingness and daydreaming re very good for you, or staring into
mandalas or Celtic knotwork patterns. Sitting with trees and
intuitively receiving impressions from them, reading the patterns in
their bark, on the hills or in the landscape, or seeing pictures in the
fire - all can open the doorway to receiving messags from the
Otherworld and our spirit helpers and guides.
you feel you are in need of the protective qualities of the Rowan,
perhaps because you have feelings of being oppressed by strong and
powerful dark forces or influences, our you feel you are under psychic
attack, then harness the power of the Rowan. Nail sprigs of Rowan
across your door lintels and wear a sprig of the leaves, flowers or
berries in your hat. Carve yourself a brooch or a talisman to wear.
Take a small piece of Rowan wood and sandpaper it smooth so that it is
a constant pocket-companion for you to touch and gain strength from.
Make a healing-pouch out of chamois leather by cutting out a circle the
size of a teacup, make holes all the way round the edge and thread a
thong or thread through the holes. In your pouch place bark and berries
from the Rowan and wear it round your neck next to your skin if
thing you can do is to plant a Rowan tree near your house. This small,
beautiful tree is an ideal garden tree as it does not take up too much
room and its sparse foliage allows grass to grow beneath it. In the
spring it has clusters of white, starry flowers and in the autumn the
leaves turn red and orange and it is a mass of red berries which
attract the birds into your garden. It has been planted near houses for
centuries to ward off evil - witches too, but we all know that this is
a corruption of an earlier tradition.
berries are very useful medicinally. Cut the clusters off the trees in
October while they are still firm and red (leave some for the birds!)
and hang them upside down in brown paper bags to dry. This is best done
in a warm, airy place. When they are completely dry, you can seal them
in dark, air-tight jars. The juice from the berries is mildly laxative
and makes a good gargle for sore throats and hoarseness. To extract the
juice from the dried berries, soak one teaspoonful in one cup of cold
water for 10 hours, strain and use as a gargle. When made into jam, the
fruit becomes astringent, which is good for mild diarrhoea.
make the jam, collect fresh berries in the autumn, trim off the stalks
and weigh the fruit. Boil the berries, strain off the seeds and skins
and reboil the liquid until it sets. You may need to add some
crab-apples to provide the pectin.
fruit can also be boiled, strained and made into wine, and gently
boiled to make a vitamin C drink which was previously used for scurvy.
The Welsh made a special ale using Rowan berries, but the secret of
this is now lost. Perhaps with a creative, intuitive, approach the
ale-makers amongst us could create a new Rowanberry ale for feasts,
rituals and ceremonies.
Rowan yields a black dye used for tanning. The Druids used it for
dyeing their ceremonial black robes which they used for certain lunar
ceremonies. The ancient Druids of Ireland also lit fires of Rowan wood
before battles and incantations were spoken over the flames to summon
spirits to take part in the fight and to combat evil forces.
horses and animals were controlled with Rowan whips and great Rowan
thickets were planted at oracular sites throughout Europe. It was noted
by John Lightfoot in his Flora Scotica of 1777 that Rowans were planted
in the neighbourhood of the ancient stone circles. It was also known
that the Druids built special platforms made from interwoven Rowan
twigs known as the Wattles of Knowledge. These were used as a kind of
bed on which a Druid would lie as part of a ritual which induced a
trance to gain hidden knowledge. The surnames Mac Cairthin and
MacCarthy come from the old Gaelic word for Rowan and literally mean
"Son of the Rowan".
is the second of the ogham letters, luis. It provides the "quickening"
for energy set in motion by the first tree, the Birch, and opens up
communication with the spirit realms which is so necessary for anyone
wishing to work with trees and magic. The increase in intuitive
insights and visions has aleady been discussed here, but the ogham
symbol may be used whenever these qualities need to be invoked.
of all sizes may be made from Rowan wood, from a pencil thin wand for
the pocket to a large ceremonial wand lavishly dedicated and decorated.
It also makes very good walking sticks if you can find a straight
length. It is particularly good if you are intending to go night
walking. The increase in psychic abilities is obviously enhanced by
holding this wood for any long periods of time.
always, only cut from the living tree after you have asked the tree,
told it of your wishes and waited to feel the assent of the tree.
Making a deep connection of thanks to the tree is also very important
and will ensure that your stick or wand does not carry any residue of
unhappiness with it.
you wish to take all or some of the bark off, it is best to do so soon
after you have cut it as it peels off easily at this stage. Rough
carving is easiest then too, and you can then leave the wood to dry out
naturally outside over a period of a few weeks before fine carving and
sanding. It is an easy, softish wood to carve and can be used for small
carved objects. Keep awareness of the sacred task you are undertaking
while you work and feel your way into connection with the underlying
energy of the Rowan which you must honour. Be alert for an increase in
your psychic powers which your Rowan wand or stick will induce in you.
Use your Rowan wand to help you to find inspired solutions to your
problems. Sleep with a piece of Rowan under your pillow to bring inner
knowledge. Heed any portents relating to future events.
your connection to the Rowan, be sure to look out for the changes that
will occur as a result of any communication with this tree. It should
not be underestimated and its influence will bring about a quickening
of your energy on many subtle levels. For this reason, it has always
been used by the wise ones and revered as a powerful influence and
should be treated with the greatest respect.
usertype:1 tt= 0
(Date Posted:02/13/2009 00:46 AM)
Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a stone diuretic.
The bulbs are used to create obstacles.
Rampion (Campanula rapunculus), also called Ramps and Rapunzel Root, is a good mouth gargle and clears the complexion.
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) leaves are used to increase fertility.
This plant is put on land to cause problems, but is also used for fertility.
Rattan Vine (Rhamnaceae), also called Supple Jack, is used to increase vitality.
1 gram a day.
Rattle, Yellow (Rhinanthus crista-galli) is good to help with failing eyesight.
1 gram once a day.
Rattlesnake Root (Prenanthes racemosa) is questionably toxic.
This plant is carried to protect from rattlesnakes.
Root (Ceanothus Americanus), also called New Jersey Tea and Wild
Snowball, is an antispasmodic, anti-syphilitic, expectorant and
sedative; it is a common pain-killer.
2 part water to 1 part herb, boil; use 1 - 30 drops throughout the day.
Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) conditions the skin and relaxes the muscles.
Soak bark in water, boil and apply to skin.
The scent of the leaf is supposed to help with clarification.
Resurrection Plant (Selaginella pilifera), also called Rose of Jericho, is questionably toxic.
This plant is used in resurrection spells, rituals and in necromancy.
Rhododendron, Yellow (Rhododendron chrysanthum) is toxic, but was once used as a wash for rheumatism.
2 teaspoon of dried leaf to 1 liter water, boil and apply externally.
Rhubarb, English (Rheum rhaponticum), also called Bastard Rhubarb, loosens the stools and increases the appetite.
This plant is used to assure fidelity.
Rose, Dog (Rosa canina) cools wounds.
2 part leaf to 1 part water, boil and apply externally.
(Rosa Centifolia), also called Hundred-leaved Rose and Cabbage Rose, is
all around good for the heart, liver, stomach and relieves constipation.
Rose petals are used in love sachets. The smell of the petals warms the soul and brings joy.
Rose, Wood (Merremia tuberosa, Ipomoea tuberosa) heals damaged tissue.
1 flower to ½ liter of oil; apply externally.
magick, the flower is said to be the strongest for love spells and is
often duplicated by sawing the tip off a pine cone for financial gain.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an astringent, an antioxidant and a stimulant.
The smell of the herb improves confidence and creativity.
This herb protects farmlands and gardens.
(Silphium paciniatum), also called Compass Weed, is used for an
enlarged spleen, internal bruising, liver problems and ulcers. It
treats burns and rashes, and may be a sedative.
Combine this plant
with mistletoe and add a bit to someone’s tongue. If they are telling
the truth, they will be able to repeat the statement.
Rue, Common (Ruta graveolens) is irritating, but is good for coughs, hysteria and cramps. CAUTION: Avoid during pregnancy.
Powdered herb: 15 - 30 grains; fluid extract: 1/2 - 1 dram a day. Chewing on 1 or 2 of the leaves will leave one giddy.
The root is used in hexes.
Rue, Goat's (Galega officinalis) helps lactation.
8 to 15 grains, from three to five times a day.
usertype:1 tt= 0